A very awkward video of Netanyahu congratulating Obama

November 7, 2012

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did not seem eager for President Obama to win reelection this week, but that's what happened, which made this morning's public meeting with U.S. Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro a touch uncomfortable.

In the video above, the Israeli leader offers all the standard congratulations and reassurances and looking-forward-to things that a foreign head of state is supposed to make after a U.S. presidential election. But the subtext is tough to miss in his strained body language and in the polite nodding from Shapiro, who might well have lost his posting had Obama lost. Netanyahu was not exactly rooting for the president's reelection, and there's real concern in Israel that this could cost Netanyahu political support or even damage the alliance so important to Israel's security.

In practice, it seems unlikely that the U.S.-Israel relationship will suffer much, for reasons I discussed earlier. But there is an outside chance it could damage Netanyahu at home. And even if it doesn't, that burger he offered Shapiro seems like it will probably make for an uncomfortable lunch meeting.

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Olga Khazan · November 7, 2012